Addresses by Upper Midwest Governors Remarkably Similar

Three gubernatorial addresses conducted this month across the Upper Midwest have been remarkably similar with regards to the main issues raised in the speeches.

Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s State of the State address delivered last week focused on four primary issues—better government, better energy, better health care, and better education. Democratic Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle tackled three main issues in his inaugural address on January 3rd: higher education, health care, and better government (specifically, ethics reform). Meanwhile, Democratic Iowa Governor Chet Culver spent most of his January 12th inaugural address on renewable energy—calling for Iowa to become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. But he also touched on a handful of other issues, including education, health care, and better government (as well as fiscal responsibility and raising the minimum wage).

Presidential candidates in 2008 will no doubt go to great lengths to woo the voters in these three states, which carry 27 prized Electoral College votes. Given that the statewide priorities outlined by Pawlenty, Doyle, and Culver seem to be remarkably similar, it will be interesting to see if presidential candidates devise a singular, Upper Midwestern strategy to carry the trio of states, by outlining uniform federal priorities to audiences in each state.

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